What is a preferred position?
Position preference is a problem that affects babies in the first six months of life. Immediately after birth, babies often turn their heads to the same side. This usually clears up on its own within a few weeks. Some babies keep turning their head to one side or keep their head still in the middle. This is called a preferred position. This can cause the head to become flattened on one side or the back of the head to become flat.
The paediatric physiotherapist will assess the motor skills and the flattening of your child's head and will give appropriate exercises about playing and advice on handling, positioning and care, appropriate to your situation. Do you recognize this complaint, do not wait too long to make an appointment. The sooner the therapy starts, the better the outcomes are.
Our practice uses the SKULLY app to assess the flattening of the head. This is a reliable measurement method in which the child is not burdened very much and you, as a parent, have a good insight into your child's progress.
Many newborns have a preferred position, one more persistent than the other. Lying on one side of your head a lot can affect the shape of your head. Parents often notice and worry about this. However, usually the shape of the head has no influence on the development of the brain and is purely cosmetic.
The asymmetry is often not limited to the head and neck area, but often affects the entire motor skills, such as lying in a C shape, using one hand more and sitting crookedly.
It is unclear how a preferred position arises, but we do know the risk factors that increase the chance of a preferred position and/or flattening of the head;
- First born and being a boy
- Too little tummy time
- Inactive children due to low muscle tone
- Children with motor development delays
- Children who already have a skull deformity from birth
- Decreased neck mobility when turning.
- Fracture of the collar bone at birth
What can you do yourself?
Offer your child variation in movement;
When sleeping you can try to turn the head alternately to the left and right;
When feeding with the bottle you can switch positions, left, right and right in front of you;
Train the neck muscles by regularly having your child lie on their stomach, this can also be done on your chest, knees or on your arm;
Make sure there is something nice to see on the non-preferred side and that your child is challenged as much as possible to look at the non-preferred side, this applies to the playpen, on your lap and on the rug.
Do you have the impression that you will succeed with these tips and the tips you have already received at the consultation office? Or are you unsure about the shape of the head and how bad the flattening is? Or do you want a children's physiotherapist to watch and think along with you? Then please contact us.
Your child's treatment usually takes place at your home to make the exercises and solution as practical as possible.